Dean Ponelis

October  6th, 1961 February  7th, 2024
Durban North, Kwazulu Natal
Dean Ponelis

There I was on a July morning
Looking for love
With the strength of a new day dawning
And the beautiful sun
At the sound of the first bird singing
I was leaving for home
With the storm and the night behind me
And the road of my own

"July Morning"


In Loving Memory of Dean Ponelis

DOB: 6 October 1961
Passed: 7 February 2024

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dean Ponelis, a beloved husband, father, and avid member of the racing community. Dean was taken from us far too soon on 7 February 2024, at the age of 62.

Those who knew Dean will remember him for his strong headed nature and that life should never be too serious. The jokes and witty comments that seemed to slip so easily from his tongue left many of us laughing for days.

He suffered a huge blow in 2014 and was in a coma for 19 days. He stunned all and walked out of hospital 4 days later. He has fought for 10 years but this time his body was too weak. Staci and I are at peace now knowing that he is no longer in pain.

Live life to the fullest as we never know what tomorrow brings.

Dean was adored by his wife, Pamela Ponelis, whom he shared almost 38 years in a loving and supportive marriage with. Their bond of 43 years exemplified the true meaning of partnership and commitment. Through thick and thin, Dean and Pamela stood together, drawing strength from their love and shared experiences. 

Fatherhood was a role that Dean cherished wholeheartedly, although he was scared to become a father. He was a loving and devoted father to Staci whose life was enriched by Dean's wisdom, kindness, and humour. He guided and cherished her for 24 years, a bond that was unbreakable!

Dean's presence will be profoundly missed by his family, friends, and all those fortunate enough to have known him. He has left an indelible mark on our lives, reminding us all to value the beauty of every moment and cherish the relationships we hold dear.

"God helps those who help themselves." - Benjamin Franklin

Dean's timeline

October 6th
November 1st
Married Pam
Class B Champion and Rookie of the Year
VW Challenge 
SA Colours achieved in SA Motorsport
February 15th
Proud dad to Staci
April 1st
Relocated to KZN
"Death Day - 1 September" - as he aptly named it
Slipped into a 19-day coma after an undiagnosed autoimmune disease - Myasthenia Gravis
Walked out of Ethekwini Hospital - 23 September
Left Porsche 
May 1st
Lived the next 7 years reuniting the Ponelis family tree, bringing his global extended family together! 

Dean's wall

Celebration of Dean's life

As a celebration of Dean's life, Please share your memories and photos.

February 18, 2024
Miss these days we shared
February 18, 2024
I am very grateful to my niece Shana, who connected me to Dean about two years ago.
I was fortunate to have exchanged some messages, yes, usually humorous and full of wit, and a few telephone calls.
Dean – my nephew with a razor-sharp with great sense of humour.
We shared our love of music and Hi-Fi, which we discussed with passion.
My one abiding memory from more than fifty years ago, was the Kiss posters in Dean’s room!

Now, Dean is in a better place.
Eric Ponelis
February 13, 2024
Working with Dean, there was never a dull moment,he was a great man with a great sense of humour! I would always ask him to come on test drives with me and we would joke and laugh the entire time, I will always remember those good times we shared!
Rest in pole position my friend!
Marco Doppielli
February 11, 2024
Dean went to school with my husband David, and we became Facebook friends when Dean congratulated us on our wedding anniversary, which falls on his birthday. We started exchanging Christmas, New Year's, anniversary and birthday wishes, and had some very amusing chats about cars and cats and the rest of his menagerie, as he called his household.

I enjoyed our conversations on my birthday in particular: we'd discuss which car David should buy me each year - an Alfa Romeo (I wanted a 155 V6 Ti), a Porsche, or an Aston Martin? Perhaps an AC Cobra or a classic Mustang? I'm going to miss these chats, which were always so uplifting.

Rest in peace, Dean, and I can only imagine how much you're enjoying the music and the sound system they've set up for you where you are now.
Amanda de Villiers
February 10, 2024
Dean and I worked together at Porsche. It didn't take very long for us to become not just colleagues, but good friends. He made going to work fun, we would spend most of our days laughing and chatting. Not many people can say they looked forward to work, but with Dean my days were brighter. There was always a joke waiting for me with Dean. If not jokes, we were talking about the conspiracy theories we believed in lol. But even though Dean joked alot, he was a caring stand up gentleman who lived and loved his family and friends. He always spoke highly of Pam and Staci.

I have so many cherished memories of Dean and I'm so glad that I had the privilege of knowing him and calling him my friend.

I'll miss you Dean
Lubayna Johns
February 9, 2024
I remember when I spent one school holiday in the 1970's at Dean's home in Robertsham, JHB, Dean was about 16 years of age, myself about 14. I recall fond memories... how we played with Dean's humongous scalextric set, layed out through the entire lounge floor, (Dean's mom complaing after coming home from work but lovingly letting us be), listening to Dean's Abba albums, Dean and my favourite music at the time, which he introduced me to by the way. Then going on the bus with Dean, my "mature", lekker cousin, always feeling quite safe with him, to mid-city JHB to go and play pinball and all kinds of other machine games at the Carlton Centre entertainment arcade, going to a movie afterwards and back on the bus.... what kids' adventures, thrills, fun and experiences he, as my older cousin enriched my teenage life with!
Thank you God for sharing Dean with us.
RIP my ou neef.
Gustav Ponelis
February 9, 2024
Alway ready with a joke or great story. Great sense of humor! I am grateful for having had the opportunity to get to know Dean and the extended Ponelis family who have always been generous and welcoming to Nicole and I.
Dietrich Meier
February 9, 2024
We truly miss you Uncle Dean. We know how you brought so much happiness to the people around you. We loved how you went out of your way to play us music and movies to show us how great your sound system was. We loved how you knew so much about cars and how you shared all your knowledge. We loved all your funny and witty jokes.
You will truly be missed. Our thoughts are with all family and friends ❤️
Nicole Meier
February 9, 2024
It was a shock to hear that Dean passed away. We connected via Facebook in early 2018 and sent many, many messages back and forth as we researched our shared Ponelis family history. It was great to be able to visit and spend time together in 2018. I got to experience his impressive A/V system in person - what a blast! We shared a lot of similar views on the world and had great conversations and shared a lot of laughs. You will be missed.
Shana Ponelis


 "Celebration of Life" .
63 Anthony Road
Umgeni Park
Monday, 19 February, 11am
Virtual event

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